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Adjournment - Climate Action Protests

17 October 2019

 

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to show my very strong support, on behalf of the Tasmanian Greens, for the 16 people who were peacefully protesting outside Parliament House earlier this evening and who have been arrested by the Tasmanian Police. They are great defenders of this place. They are great defenders of the planet. They know what the real issues are and they are demanding simply one thing, for people in this place to tell the truth and to take action on climate now.

They are so brave. Peaceful resistance like this will continue to grow. It is growing across the planet. It started a short year ago and already, on a regular basis, we are seeing people putting their bodies and their lives on the line to defend the planet, to defend human survival, to defend the ecosystems, plants, animals and communities already experiencing climate breakdown and ecological breakdown.

Earlier this year, the United Nations told us that one million species are at risk of extinction. Only a few months ago, the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere told us very grave things about the rising acid levels in the ocean and the inability of the ocean to absorb any more carbon dioxide, the melting of ice caps and the melting of glaciers. These things are already having cascading effects. Communities around the world, Innuit, people of Tuvalu, people of Pacific Islands, people in Afghanistan, people in Dubbo, are all having to leave farmlands, leave their place and leave their community because they can no longer make a life and survive because of the changing environmental conditions.

These people who were arrested today are brave and I salute them on behalf of the Greens and everybody else in Tasmania who understands that people are increasingly taking these actions. We will see more of these because we, collectively in this place, are failing to take climate action. This is something the Premier can do something about. The Premier, this government, can make a statement for climate action, show the leadership that we need and can do what we need to do as a state to keep carbon in the ground. We have to stop logging forests. Native forests in Tasmania are being logged every day and your Government, Mr Deputy Speaker, is looking forward on to breaking into 356 000 hectares of beautiful, carbon-rich forest on 8 April next year, which was set aside for reserves and must stay in the ground.

It will stay in the ground. I am utterly confident of that because I know that people across Tasmania, around those communities, Bruny Island, Wielangta, the Tarkine, the south and people around the Douglas Apsley area in the north-east are ready. They are primed and ready and waiting to do what they must to defend these trees, the forests, the animals and plants that they support, for the integrity of those forests, the beautiful intrinsic value that they have, and for us as a planet.

We will not let this place be taken over like Bolsonaro is taking over the Amazon. We will not let Will Hodgman become Bolsonaro Will. This will not happen in our place because people care about it. For the people in the Tarkine, for the Bob Brown Foundation and all the brave people up there who have spent summer after summer defending that magical rainforest in the Sumac, who will not leave despite the fact that logging officials told them yesterday that they have to go because they want to put a road into -

Mrs Rylah - Vandalising.

Dr WOODRUFF - Yes, vandalising, exactly, vandalising that beautiful forest. Thank you, Mrs Rylah. That is what Forestry Tasmania wants to do, vandalise that beautiful forest and trash those values. Well, those people will not move. We have to come to terms with what we have to do in this place. It is not about providing succour to an industry that is trashing the planet and is a violation. It is a criminal act to continue to remove native forests like this Government is doing.

It is quite simple, no more thermal coal mining in Tasmania and no more native forest logging. Put the money we save from not trashing the environment, not propping up companies like Ta Ann, so-called Sustainable Timber Tasmania, Forestry Tasmania in reality, not propping those companies up with public subsidies, putting those monies instead into the restoration of the Midlands, into helping farmers like the Headlams, who were here yesterday hoping that the Liberal and Labor Parties would support our no new thermal coal mining motion.

No, it is pretty clear this Government is not going to stand up for farmers, either. What a surprise, Mr Tucker. You are a farmer, but you are not up against the pointy end of big salmon and you are not up against the pointy end of a coal mine proposal on your property, either. I wonder whether that exploration licence would be granted on Mr Tucker's property in the north-east. Perhaps not. Perhaps some people get special dispensations.

The Premier can talk about processes all he likes. The reality is that there does not need to be a good or a bad process when it comes to approving coal mines, there just should not be any and that is the end of the story. People will keep standing up and getting arrested because it seems that if they do not do that, nothing else will get through to this Government.